4 Underdog Anime Like Ousama Ranking (Ranking of Kings) That Will Move You to Tears

It’s no secret that we here at Honey’s Anime—as well as much of the rest of the internet—love Fall 2021’s sleeper hit Ranking of Kings. Not many anime can make us cry within the first few episodes, but seeing Prince Bojji and Kage smile and support each other after everything both of them have gone through was just too much for us. As the story continues, their journey throws even more obstacles their way, but these resilient little guys won’t stop until they prove their detractors wrong once and for all. If you’re like us and can’t wait for the next episode so you can emotionally destroy yourself yet again, here are four more underdog anime that will move you to tears!

Mild Spoilers Ahead!

4. Katanagatari

Coming from Nisio Isin of Bakemonogatari fame, Katanagatari is an alternate history take on Edo-era Japan that follows military strategist Togame and isolated martial artist Shichika as they try to capture twelve famous weapons that are powerful enough to sway the tides of entire wars depending on which side wields them. Togame and Shichika go through hell and back to reclaim these weapons, falling in love along the way and losing many people they’ve grown to care about to the unceasing violence of the world in which they live. You can’t help but root for these two young sweethearts to succeed, and every stumbling block they face on their journey will yank at your heartstrings to no end. All we want is for them to be happy and safe!

3. Dororo

Speaking of alternate takes on Japan’s past, Dororo takes place in a war-torn time directly before the Jidai Geki era—demons lurk in the shadows, greedy samurai and local lords vie for power, and innocent people often end up as collateral damage. Caught up in the middle of all this is Hyakkimaru, a young man covered almost entirely in prosthetics because his body parts were sold to demons by his daimyo father, and Dororo, a young child who has to steal to survive.

This anime is particularly adept at giving the audience just the right balance of hope and despair. Hyakkimaru may regain a body part, but he’ll lose a friend in the process; or he’ll defeat someone who’s standing in his way of killing the demons, but they were only fighting him because breaking the demon pact will also break the blessing of prosperity that his body was exchanged for. Dororo won’t just make you cry, but force you to confront complex moral questions as well.

2. Fumetsu no Anata e (To Your Eternity)

A mysterious deity creates an immortal being with no form or knowledge, but an endless ability to learn and adapt from its surroundings and releases it into the world just to see what will happen. The being, later named Fushi, can transform into any creature or person who strongly affects him (usually by dying after he’s made an emotional connection with them). Naturally, this leads to plenty of heartbreaking moments, as poor Fushi eventually becomes a walking graveyard of everyone he’s ever loved. To Your Eternity also holds the record for the fastest we’ve ever cried over an anime, as episode 1 is essentially its own mini-arc that tells the story of the nameless boy who becomes the immortal being’s first friend. Even if you know what inevitably has to happen to most of these characters, this anime makes you care about every single one of them just as much as Fushi does... because they forever enriched his life.

1. Made in Abyss

Two young kids versus a seemingly endless pit filled with bloodthirsty monsters... yeah, we don’t like those odds, either. Nevertheless, Riko and Reg are determined to reach the 7th layer of the Abyss (from which no human has ever returned alive) to find Riko’s missing mother who she believes is still stranded down there. Their journey is fraught with danger, and they have to make some incredibly difficult decisions—their friend Nanachi’s request from episode 13 is remembered as one of the most heartbreaking scenes of any anime in 2017—but Riko is so cheerful and Reg is so earnest that we have no doubt they’ll eventually achieve their goal. Whether they can actually make it back to the surface, or if they’ll even try, is another question entirely...

Final Thoughts

Although these anime don’t resemble Ranking of Kings as much as the four list entries do, we’d still recommend Mob Psycho 100, Death Parade, and Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai for nights when you need a cathartic cry. But are there any other anime that you would recommend as companion pieces for Ranking of Kings? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!

Fumetsu-no-Anata-e-Wallpaper-2-700x394 4 Underdog Anime Like Ousama Ranking (Ranking of Kings) That Will Move You to Tears


Author: Mary Lee Sauder

After the hard-hitting East Coast lifestyle hit me a bit too hard, I started pursuing my passion as a writer in my cozy home state of Ohio. Aside from that, I spend my time cooking, cosplaying, collecting anime merch, and being an improv comedy actor. I also love sneaking alliterations and stupid puns into my writing, so be on the lookout for them! 😉

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